As part of the New Horizons Competition at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Film Fest, director Atiq Rahimi presented “The Patience Stone” based on his bestselling novel.
Set in the backdrop of torn up Afghanistan under Taliban rule, a woman tries to take care of her comatose husband in midst arousing conflicts. Having been under his oppressive wings for her adult life, this beautiful woman, finally finds her voice and her Patience Stone.
Having to escape her home with her children to flee the Taliban militia’s massacres, she is forced to leave behind her husband, who is in a coma after being struck with a bullet to his neck. Daily she makes her way through violence and risks her life to go back to her house and take care of her half dead husband, who has been abandoned by his family and jihad companions.
Bit by bit she opens up and begins speaking to her husband, in the know that he cannot hear her, for she was unheard throughout her marriage. With every visit she opens up about her secrets, dreams, desires and sufferings. In a beautifully honest monologue her confessions unfold taking the audience through a journey of a smart young woman’s mind, living under a brutal patriarchal rule, just like her once beautiful country.
She is left alone and her only asylum is her aunt, who works as a prostitute and takes her in. Having suffered herself from the plight of oppression, she is her only confidant and sympathizer in the tough surrounding the live in.
Constant random violence and related fear builds up a painful suspense that is not released with the climax of the film. Throughout watching this intimate and intense relationship between this young woman and the comatose husband and oppressor, one is faced with so much tension and literally fears for her life. The very same fear these women live with constantly, being at the random disposal of their men, warlords or Taliban militias in a war torn time and place that seems not from this world.
Beautiful bright colors of fabrics and bougainvillea break the grey and destructed scenery of war struck surroundings, trying to create some sort of hope in all this mayhem. Her monologue that carries itself throughout the film somehow reflects the solitude this young woman lives in.
Golshifteh Farahani, the award winning Iranian actress, who is known for her great choice of roles, has flawlessly portrayed this complex character. Director Atiq Rahimi commented in an interview with ADFF “I wonder if I would have made this film had I not found Golshifteh. She gave the character some dignity, a body and a lot of courage.”. She received the “Best Actress Award” by ADFF for her brilliantly portrayed role.
A certain black stone is believed to take in all your secrets and pain, listening without conditions and at one point bursts to set you free, the patience stone. Just like her half dead husband…